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Reawakening a Passion

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For 14 years, 365 days a year, and an average of four hours a day, I have dedicated my life to one particular passion. Golf, a game of continuous practice and patience, has consumed my existence and rid me of my teenage years. I now stand here, contemplating upon my desire to play as a senior in high school. I have come too far at this very moment to withdraw myself from the team. If I make such a decision, every year prior to this one would have been a misuse of time. In addition, such a selfish desire could severely affect the individuals who surround me. How could I flee from a supportive coach and a close group of teammates who are eager to progress in this upcoming season? As tryouts have already concluded, my coach and fellow team players are aware of my golf transformations. They are anxious to witness what I will contribute to the team in the events ahead of us. With that in mind, it would be remotely impossible to remove myself from the roster. Unfortunately, there is nothing more comforting than the thought of putting aside a passion which no longer exists and striving toward freshly discovered infatuations.

“Bzzzzzzzz.” Jolting my limber body from a peaceful sleep, my navy blue alarm clock emits a high pitch ring tone. Was it already five o’clock in the morning? As I lie immobile in bed for another 23 minutes, the monotone alarm only grows more boisterous. Arising from my sunken bed and ruffled cozy sheets, I fumble to the floor. An uneasy feeling settles within my stomach as I recall the reason I dreaded this day. My season’s opening tournament had arrived, otherwise known as the Barrington Invitational. The
eagerness I felt for this tournament for the past three years has slipped away. I long for the day to be over and the golf season to have already concluded. As I arrive at the golf course at six thirty on a dewy morning, every muscle in my body is motionless. It is as if my body is experiencing a lack of dopamine, unable to execute any form of movement. I position myself outside of my car where an aroma of freshly cut grass surrounds me and chilly gusts of late summer wind revive my senses. With hesitation, I gather up my equipment and trudge to a white circular table, which my coach currently sits erect at. I sluggishly plop down on one of the unused plastic chairs positioned around the table. As other teams arrive for the tournament, I take notice of each golfer’s optimistic attitude. Their unmistakable perkiness at such an early hour baffles me. How can anyone appear at ease, with such notable confidence and composure, prior to a nerve-wracking event? Suddenly, a surge of vulnerability and insecurity in my game creeps up upon me.

My coach abruptly takes notice of my dispirited mood. After training me for three years, she has become accustomed to my nervous breakdowns; however, today’s emotions demand a great deal more of attention. She glares intensely at me and softly speaks motivational words:

“McCall, you do not have to worry about the outcome of your game as much as you do. We all know you put your best effort forth at all times. Now do me an enormous favor, enjoy it for once! This will be your final Barrington Invitational. Show these other girls what we all know you are capable of. Make them say ‘wow’.”

Her passionate words pierce my heart. She has bluntly spoken what is on her
mind, but I cannot promise her such demanding actions. However, it would be delightful
to take pleasure in my final Barrington Invitational. On the other hand, achieving a ‘wow’ from my competitors does not currently seem attainable.

I now sense a helpful distraction. Brittany Keiter, my best friend and teammate of four years, arrives. Without her assistance, I never would have survived a single tournament. I anticipate her presence and presume that she will successfully generate some positive energy, discontinuing my negative thoughts. To do so, the two of us tranquilize our minds and bodies through deep lyrics and smooth tones of music. Before we both embark off to our assigned holes, she blesses me with some thoughtful words:

“McCall, I know that you are an outstanding player. Our teammates are also aware of this obvious fact. Even coach believes that you are talented. It is about time you prove to yourself that you are as skilled as we perceive you.”

The optimistic and encouraging words that both my coach and Brittany bestowed upon me are heartfelt. Their genuine thoughts have sparked my imagination. Maybe it is possible to prove to myself that I am capable of achieving my expectations. I do not believe that such a miraculous event can occur on this particular day, but I have an entire season to work towards this goal.

Stepping forth onto the crowded tee box of the first hole, a jittery sensation redevelops in my body. I greet the three girls I will be accompanied with for the next five torturous hours. Every word I speak to them stumbles off my lips, forming fragmented sentences, which symbolize the intensity of my discomfort. To my discontent, I am given the unfortunate opportunity to tee off first. At this point, I could use a few extra minutes in privacy to regain my composure. As I stand slightly bent over my ball, my knees begin
to tremble. My hands, which tightly grasp the grip of the club, promptly produce
excessive amounts of perspiration. However, my constricted squeeze is my attempt to eliminate and disguise my uncontrollable quivering. Suddenly, my heart heavily thumps against my chest as if it will momentarily erupt. The first shot, also considered everyone’s first impression of a golfer, is the one I fear the most. Then, for a momentary second, I lose complete focus of my surroundings, swing the club, and make contact with the ball. My first shot is complete. I am now obligated to carry out this performance for the next seventeen holes.

Shot by shot, I convince myself of my outstanding abilities. Two hours and thirty minutes later, I complete my first set of nine holes. I am alarmed at my performance thus far, but attempt to not direct my attention towards it. With nine more holes to complete, I have to work hard to sustain my positive attitude and duplicate what I have already achieved. At this point in the round, every swing I make can impact my final score. With the pressure amounting, I find myself biting my newly polished nails to release some amounted stress. Each shot also produces an unhealthy reaction, where I feel as if severe health complications are likely to occur. Every now and then I question why I became involved in an overwhelmingly tense sport. However, at this point, today could possibly be the day that I achieve my goal, as well as demonstrate to others my undiscovered talent.

Five hours have passed by and I stand drowsy on the 18th hole. Nervously
positioned above my six foot putt, I steadily stroke through the ball, sinking my final shot
of the day. The distressed sickness that crept along with me for hours has suddenly
vanished. My group and I crowd around one of the white circular tables to compute our
scores. My legs twitch uncontrollably as I sit in anticipation of my final score. As I am notified of the ending results, everything becomes a blur. I hear voices speaking to me, but I am unable to decipher what is being said.

“73. McCall is that right? You shot a 73. McCall? Is that right?”

“Huh? Sorry Kelsey. What did you just say? I shot a what?”

“You just shot a 73!”

I stand in silence, unable to form words. I do not believe what I am hearing. How could I have performed to my best ability under such difficult circumstances? My coach appears to take possession of my scorecard. She snatches the card from my fingers as I stand emotionless. She glares at the numbers in the same manner as I did. As she comes to her senses, a warm smile appears on her face. She reenacts a fainting stunt to display her state of shock.

“McCall! What? I am in disbelief. Did you really just shoot a 73?”

“Yes. I guess I did.”

Instantly, her dark chocolate eyes fill with tears. A single droplet erupts from her left eye and slips down her rosy cheek, solidifying her state of satisfaction. With no hesitation, she takes me into her arms. We embrace each other in celebration of such a significant event. Our overly joyous response prompts me to join her in a tearful reaction. As salty droplets drizzle down my sweaty face, teammates and parents surround us, intrigued by our peculiar behavior. Instantly, I am swarmed with elated hugs as numerous
‘congratulations’ float around.

A ceremony is then held to recognize the top three performing teams and the elite
18 players. As if it was not already enough that I had executed a round at such a recognizable level, I am then honored as the second place individual overall, one stroke behind the state champion. Although obtaining this position is quite significant, I believe I am walking away from this experience with an even greater outcome. My initial pessimistic approach to this upcoming golf season is shattered. This one round signified a new beginning, recreating my outlook for the year. I stand confident in my abilities and motivated to sustain what I have just accomplished, as well as progress if possible. With my passion reawakening after a period of hibernation, I am prepared to show the world what I am competent of attaining, and make my final year on the Barrington High School Golf Team the one to reminisce about.





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